Psalm 117:2

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 2. For his merciful kindness is great toward us. By which is meant not only his great love toward the Jewish people, but towards the whole family of man. The Lord is kind to us as his creatures, and merciful to us as sinners, hence his merciful kindness to us as sinful creatures. This mercy has been very great, or powerful. The mighty grace of God has prevailed even as the waters of the flood prevailed over the earth: breaking over all bounds, it has flowed towards all portions of the multiplied race of man. In Christ Jesus, God has shown mercy mixed with kindness, and that to the very highest degree. We can all join in this grateful acknowledgment, and in the praise which is therefore due.

And the truth of the Lord endureth for ever. He has kept his covenant promise that in the seed of Abraham should all nations of the earth be blessed, and he will eternally keep every single promise of that covenant to all those who put their trust in him. This should be a cause of constant and grateful praise, wherefore the Psalm concludes as it began, with another Hallelujah,

Praise ye the LORD.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 2. For his merciful kindness is great toward us. We cannot part from this Psalm without remarking that even in the Old Testament we have more than one instance of a recognition on the part of those that were without the pale of the church that God's favour to Israel was a source of blessing to themselves. Such were probably to some extent the sentiments of Hiram and the Queen of Sheba, the contemporaries of Solomon; such the experience of Naaman; such the virtual acknowledgments of Nebuchadnezzar and Darius the Mede. They beheld "his merciful kindness" towards his servants of the house of Israel, and they praised him accordingly. John Francis Thrupp.

Verse 2. For his merciful kindness is great toward us. Albeit there be matter of praise unto God in himself, though we should not be partakers of any benefit from him, yet the Lord doth give his people cause to praise him for favours to them in their own particular cases. David Dickson.

Verse 2. For his merciful kindness is great. rbg, gabar, is strong: it is not only great in bulk or number; but it is powerful; it prevails over sin, Satan, death, and hell. Adam Clarke

Verse 2. Merciful kindness... and the truth of the LORD. Here, and so in divers other Psalms, God's mercy and truth are joined together; to show that all passages and proceedings, both in ordinances and in providence, whereby he comes and communicates himself to his people are not only mercy, though that is very sweet, but truth also. Their blessings come to them in the way of promise from God, as bound to them by the truth of his covenant. This is soul satisfying indeed; this turns all that a man hath to cream, when every mercy is a present sent from heaven by virtue of a promise. Upon this account, God's mercy is ordinarily in the Psalms bounded by his truth; that none may either presume him more merciful than he hath declared himself in his word; nor despair of finding mercy gratis, according to the truth of his promise. Therefore though thy sins be great, believe the text, and know that God's mercy is greater than the sins. The high heaven covereth as well tall mountains as small mole hills, and mercy can cover all. The more desperate thy disease, the greater is the glory of thy physician, who hath perfectly cured thee. Abraham Wright

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 2. Merciful kindness. In God's kindness there is mercy, because,

  1. Our sin deserves the reverse of kindness.
  2. Our weakness requires great tenderness.
  3. Our fears can only be so removed.

Verse 2. (last clause)

  1. In his attribute -- he is always faithful.
  2. In his revelation -- always infallible.
  3. In his action -- always according to promise.